The Susan B. Anthony was barely in transporter range long enough to complete the transfer of Fleet Captain Brett Logan before high-tailing at maximum warp to return to Starbase 4. Above average in height, Captain Logan didn’t look much older than 40, even as he was pushing 60. Briefcase in hand, he stepped down off of the transporter platform to the surprise of the ensign operating the transporter console. It was the middle of the night, after all, and such a senior officer’s visit would normally come with a little more pomp and circumstance.
“Permission to come aboard?” Logan asked, his adjutant following him down off of the platform.
“G-Granted, Fleet Captain, sir,” the transporter operator squeaked out.
“Thank you. May I?” Logan said, gesturing towards the console.
The young woman nodded and stepped away to allow the senior officer to approach the console. He placed his hand on the authentication pad to the side, to allow the computer to confirm his identity through biometrics as if it didn’t already know who he was after reassembling him at the molecular level.
“Computer, recognize Logan, Fleet Captain Brett M., authorization code Logan-Phi-Upsilon-Zero.”
“Authenticate my orders through the Starfleet Command data uplink, and make a note in the ship’s log that as of this startime I have assumed command of the Europa.”
“Confirmed. Fleet Captain Brett Logan now in command of starship Europa. All command codes transferred.”
“What’s your name, Ensign?” Logan asked.
“Elizabeth Stevenson, sir,” she replied.
“Well, Ensign Stevenson, I’d appreciate if my arrival were not made the subject of the gossip pool until I announce it to the senior staff in the morning. I assume that won’t be a problem?”
“Of course, sir. I don’t think anyone would believe me if I told them a fleet captain beamed aboard after 0100 hours, anyway,” she replied grinning.
“Probably not. As you were, Ensign,” Logan replied, chuckling. “With me, Forrest.”
Logan led the way into the corridor, Lieutenant Commander Christopher Forrest following close at his heels. Forrest had been his aid for about a year now, first as Logan was leading a task group near Breen space and now in his role as the Deputy Commander of the Fourth Fleet’s Expeditionary Group, which oversaw the Europa. Logan had only held this new role for about three days, and they hadn’t even reached fleet command before their transport was diverted to take them to the Europa, mere hours after learning it needed a new captain.
“Captain Alain really left during gamma shift?” Forrest asked, once they stepped into a turbolift.
“It’s not ideal, but sticking it out with family problems brewing in the background wouldn’t have been ideal either,” Logan replied. “Main Bridge.”
The lift started moving up.
“I hope he at least sends the skiff back,” Forrest muttered.
“I think I’ll be okay for a few weeks without it,” the captain replied. “But I’d prefer not to have a hole in the back of the ship for the duration. See what engineering can do to fabricate a cover or a plug.”
“I’ll add it to what I’m sure will be a long list for tomorrow, sir,” Forrest replied.
The lift stopped and opened up to the main bridge. The bosun’s whistle sounded as soon as Logan’s foot hit the deck of the bridge, causing a Lieutenant in red to stand up at his presence.
“Captain on the bridge!” the young man announced.
“As you were, Lieutenant–?”
“McCord, sir. The Anthony sent word you’d be taking over?”
“Already done. As I told the transporter attendant, I’d prefer to keep this quiet until I have a chance to inform the senior staff in the morning. Have them report to the briefing room at 0600 hours,” Logan replied.
“Understood, sir,” Lieutenant McCord replied. “I was waiting to resume course until I had your authorization.”
“How far away from the badlands are we?”
“About two light-years, sir. Another day at warp seven.”
“This is a rescue mission, not a pleasure cruise. Resume our previous heading at Warp 9.5,” the captain replied.
“Aye, sir,” the lieutenant said. “Helm, engage.”
There was a slight shudder as the ship jumped to warp, not quite pushing it to the maximum possible speed, but still fast enough to let the ship cover the distance in just over nine hours. Engineering would probably not be happy, but he wasn’t used to taking any sort of gruff from anyone when it came to accomplishing a mission. If there was a Cardassian ship lost in the badlands, it was probably damaged, if not destroyed, and those people would need his help.
“Good. I’ll be in the ready room,” Logan said, before leaving the bridge with Lieutenant Commander Forrest.
The room was small but well-appointed. Logan saw that Alain had not left behind any personal items, which made his intent not to be returning in any fashion quite apparent. He made a mental note to replicate a few things to place on the shelves to make the space look a little more inviting and to signify his intent to stay–even if it was just for this one mission until a permanent replacement could be found. Forrest looked unimpressed, but he looked that way so often Logan had come to wonder if it was just his face.
“Vintage. Lovely,” the younger man noted, running a finger along the viewport ledge to check for dust.
“She’s not even twenty years old yet, Commander,” Logan reminded him, before sitting down behind the desk. “Luna class ships are still the best in their size range,” he added.
“I don’t know about that, sir. The Anthony could run circles around this junker,” Forrest replied.
“I’d keep that opinion to yourself for the duration of our visit, if I were you,” Logan said, though he was fully aware that Forrest would probably say something stupid to one of the crew anyway. He was a brilliant logistician, but he had the personality of the stuck-up ladder-climber he was at heart.
“Probably a good idea. Hopefully we’ll be able to warp in, find the transport, and get back on our way to Fourth Fleet Command,” Forrest said.
“I don’t imagine this will take long, but if it’s truly lost, we might be poking around in the Badlands for weeks.”
“You’re stressing me out, Forrest. Go to one of the science stations on the bridge and go through the ship’s logs. I want a report by 0500 on everything I need to know about this ship before the briefing.”
“Sleep was never on the table, was it?”
“Get to work,” Logan ordered, pulling the desk computer over to himself to start his own deep dive into the ship’s logs.